Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Lead Is Safe Enough on Tour This Year

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Lead Is Safe Enough on Tour This Year

Article excerpt

CORAL SPRINGS -- The National Transportation Safety Board may consider putting red lights and retractable barricades between the ninth and 10th holes at PGA Tour events. The trains wrecks are getting too frequent -- and very ugly.

When Franklin Langham blew a six-shot lead with seven holes to go last week, enabling Jim Furyk of Ponte Vedra Beach to win the Doral-Ryder Open, it marked the eighth time in the last calendar year that a third-round leader had frittered away a margin of five shots or more to lose.

This week, Vijay Singh of Ponte Vedra Beach will defend his championship in the Honda Classic, a title he won last year at the TPC at Heron Bay with a rally from five shots behind Eric Booker with nine holes to play. Singh shot a 69 during a windswept Sunday, while Booker ended with a 77. Singh has a theory for that and other recent fourth-round reversals.

"Maybe they get intimidated a lot when they see another guy making a lot of birdies," said Singh, who is making his 28th consecutive Florida Swing start today in the first round of the Honda. "They get into a very negative view, start playing very conservative, and that's where the mistakes come."

Davis Love III of St. Simons Island, Ga., agreed that many of the examples of final-round collapses are players who have not yet won and were being chased by a proven star.

"There are certain names, even for the top players, that you worry about," he said. "If you're chasing a guy who hasn't won before, you might think a little more positively. 'Hey . . . if I make a couple of birdies, this guy will start thinking about it.' Some guys are intimidating, and some guys, you don't have any confidence in."

Earlier this year, Tiger Woods rallied from seven shots behind Matt Gogel with seven holes to play in winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Last year, in what may be the most famous collapse in golf history, Jean Van de Velde triple-bogeyed the final hole of the British Open to lose what remained of a five-shot lead with which he had started the day. Paul Lawrie, 10 shots behind Van de Velde when the final round started, won in a four-hole playoff. …

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